A few days ago, the Paulding County Republican Examiner reported on a new Obama scandal that the Obama campaign was accepting illicit overseas donations. Now, after the report has been released by the conservativeGovernment Accountability Institute (GAI), it has become clear that the claims made in the report have been extensively misrepresented by ring-wing and mainstream news sources.
A review of the report actually proves that the sole example included of a foreign-national donor giving to the Obama campaign was, in fact, an outcome of a translation error. The GAI’s report entitled America the Vulnerable: Are Foreign and Fraudulent Online Campaign Contributions Influencing U.S. Elections? mentioned a Norwegian blogger to have made illegal donations to the re-election campaign of President Obama.
The series of gaffes initiated when a Norwegian blogger named Gaupefot posted his comment in Norwegian language. Apparently relying on Google Translation, authors of GAI report came up with the translation that said, “I have in practice given money to Obama, I had done it.”Now being a non-US citizen it is against American law to make donations for presidential elections. But, that was not what the blogger intended to do in the first place.
The correct translation of Gaupefot’s comment is essentially, “If I actually could have given money to Obama, I would have done it.” The translation has been confirmed with three Norwegian speakers, including a University of North Dakota professor of Norwegian language.
The GAI did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the report and on this glaring error. What is even more alarming is that authors of the report relied on a tool like Google Translation, a literal translation service that is incapable of understanding nuance or context.
Just insert a few Chinese language symbols or Russian words and you will know how hilariously unreliable can the tool actually be. For instance when translated into Chinese, the slogan of Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan "finger-lickin' good" came out as ‘eat your fingers off’